The largest and one of the strongest departments at Stetson University, the English department challenges students and facilitates their success through the major, minor and special initiatives such as the Sullivan Creative Writing and First-Year English programs. Students study canonical works, newly appreciated texts, language, writing and literary theories, choosing points of emphasis for themselves.
The curriculum emphasizes
- Analysis and writing, the skills most sought by employers
- Student-centered seminars
- Individualized instruction
The department also plays a vital role in other university programs including English-secondary education, humanities, honors, journalism and gender studies.
A Distinctive Program
Stetson's first-year English courses provide students with the writing skills they need for academic success in college and for future success. The ability to write and communicate well is critically important to all endeavors. All members of the university's English faculty teach first-year courses and are well equipped to teach both analytical and argumentative writing.
Students interested in taking their writing a step further can enroll in creative writing classes. Funded by the Tim Sullivan Endowment, these courses include fiction, poetry, dramatic writing, creative nonfiction and advanced genre. The endowment also funds scholarships in creative writing, annual prize money, visiting writers and travel expenses for writing conferences.
Academics and Research
Students pursue individual senior research in the required senior colloquium.
Facilities and opportunities
Housed in Flagler Hall, the department offers several opportunities for students. They can gain valuable experience as staff members for Touchstone, Stetson's campus literary magazine, and for The Stetson Reporter, Florida's first campus newspaper. A unique student-organized program, Poetry at an Uncouth Hour, provides a public forum for creative people to share their work with others. Sponsored by Touchstone, Poetry at an Uncouth Hour brings students, faculty and staff together in an informal setting and at an unusual hour on Thursday evenings.
Preparation for graduate study
Upon graduation from the undergraduate program, students are prepared to advance to master's programs.
Awards and Recognition
The award-winning English department faculty is first and foremost devoted to teaching. Its members reflect the diverse interests and talents of Stetson students. From medieval to contemporary literature, poetry to creative nonfiction, sonnets to comics and detective fiction, and Shakespeare to Woolf, publishing scholars and creative writers bring extensive experience to the classroom. English faculty include:
- Michael Barnes, Ph.D., University of South Carolina; rhetoric and composition
- Shawnrece Campbell, Ph.D., Kent State University; African-American literature, multiethnic literature, American Literature 1865-present, gender theory
- Joel Davis, Ph.D., University of Oregon; Sir Philip Sidney and the Sidney Circle, Shakespeare, English Renaissance literary and print culture, poetics, rhetoric, gender theory
- Thomas Farrell, Ph.D., University of Michigan; Chaucer, medieval literature, detective fiction, history of the language, narratology, Patrick O'Brian
- Jamil Khader, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University; literature in English other than British and American, postcolonial studies, transnational feminism, pop fiction (vampire fiction, science fiction, fairy tales, the supernatural)
- Megan O'Neill, Ph.D., University of New Mexico; rhetoric and composition, Coleridge, British Romanticism, American pop culture, Star Trek
- John Pearson, Ph.D., Boston University; Henry James, 19th century American literature and aesthetics, autobiography, literary theory
- Mary Pollock, Ph.D., University of Texas
- Mark Powell, M.F.A., University of South Carolina; creative writing, fiction
- Lori Snook, Ph.D., University of Arizona; 19th century British literature, gender studies, animal studies
- Joseph Witek, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; comics and popular culture, narrative fiction, literary theory
- Terri Witek, Ph.D., Vanderbilt University; poetry and poetics, poetry writing
Students are encouraged to take part in the Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience, a university-wide competition for grants to work with a faculty mentor on a summer research project.
Undergraduate awards and honors
The department gives various awards to students including the Byron H. Gibson Award, the Alberta Lotspeich Gibson Outstanding Senior Award in English, the Mary Ruth Gibson Outstanding Junior Award in English, several creative writing awards, and the Diane Smith Gibson Renaissance Award. Students also can strive for membership in Sigma Tau Delta, the English honorary society. Stetson's chapter of Sigma Tau Delta publishes the online academic journal Inkwell.
A degree in English can help open the door to many career paths because it gives students an excellent foundation in such important skills as analysis and writing. Stetson students have taken English courses to prepare for business, education, law and veterinary school, as well as for graduate study in English. Alumni have gone on to be novelists, magazine editors, journalists, screenwriters, lawyers and CEOs.